Friday, June 23, 2017

Phoenix Prime Friday Feature


Phoenix Prime is a writing course I took. The writers involved, the instructors, we all became a family. I've decided to start a weekly feature of one book of theirs. Happy reading!



Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?


Arrested and put on trial for his life, a frightened wolf is desperate to tell his side of the story. You may have heard tales of a vulnerable girl dressed in red, proudly taking a basket to her lonely grandmother. You may have heard of evil plans and a costume misdirection. You may even have heard of a terrifying wolf who fitted two people into a rabbit-sized belly.

Lies. You've been fooled with wicked lies. 
So, listen now while the wolf is talking and pay him due attention. Who knows if he'll survive to recite his fearful tale again?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Throwback Thursday – Excerpt Edition


Here’s an excerpt from Of Rose and Cruelty:

A large shadow stirs behind me. The beast.

Shakily, I turn to face it. It remains in the shadows, and I cannot see its hideous face up close. It sniffs loudly, and steam exits its large nostrils.

“I… I am the gardener.” I thrust out the weeds I’m holding as proof.

Suddenly, it lurches forward, its face inches from mine. It’s studying me. I cannot tell what it thinks of me or my purpose, but slowly it slinks back to the shadows.

Try as I might, I must confess that encounter frightened and even shamed me. Focusing on my task at hand soothes me slightly, and I reach for the moss covering the castle wall.

A loud, horrific, animalistic roar bellows from behind me. Moisture covers my back and then my front as I turn around to see that the beast has not left. I use the weeds to wipe his saliva from my cheeks.

“I’m only trying to do my job,” I protest, forcing my words to contain fear and not anger.

It opens its mouth again, tusks glistening.

“Not the castle. Understood.”

The beast huffs and returns to the shadows once more.

It takes me a long time to settle after that encounter. If only I had my musket or my sword on me! But, alas, I had neither at the time.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

WIP Wednesday

 Here’s a little excerpt from When Sirens Screech:

The gloom of the night enshrouds me like a blanket. I shiver. Winter is almost here, and already, snow falls. It glistens in the moonlight, pretty, beautiful even.


But the shadows can’t be kept at bay for long. Especially not now.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Release Tuesday

This week’s new release is Of Gold and Deceit. It’s my twisted take on Rumpelstiltskin!

The king is a terrible, vile man. Cruelty and hatred are his only allies. Rich beyond measure, none dare to defy him, not even the miller’s daughter here in the royal spinning room with me.

She is as delightful as he is detestable, as beautiful as he is boring, and as charming as he is critical.

Her blond hair gives me hope for a brighter tomorrow, and if my magic and I can keep her safe, then I will. Yes, magic can come with a terrible price. Yes, she may not know my given name. Yes, she will not appreciate what I will demand from her.

Some might call me an imp, but what am I is powerful. I may not be king, but I have worth and my own interests.

This tale of a magical man with the ability to spin straw into gold is unlike any other version you've read before.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday Writing Report

On Friday, I started writing my first every western romance. Saturday, I finished the rough draft. (It’s a short story.)

Yesterday, I started When Sirens Screech! It’s up for preorder. I’m dying to know what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of sirens. What do I absolutely have to include? Keep in mind that in this series, the paranormal creatures are all evil.






Friday, May 12, 2017

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Reluctant Wife by Caroline Garfield and a Giveaway!


 Caroline Warfield is over the moon to finally be able to release The Reluctant Wife into the wild.

This sweeping story carries readers from the edge of Bengal to Calcutta to the Suez and across the desert, to rural England while two people stumble into love in spite of themselves. The hero, a clueless male with more honor than sense, never stops trying to do the right thing. Imagine his shock when he realizes people actually depend on him! The heroine is a courageous wounded duck with more love bottled up than she finds comfortable. Along the way it features a meteor shower, a tragic asassination, colonial officials, steamboats, narrow minded officers' wives, herbal remedies, a desert bivouac, a court martial, interfering relatives, a horrific fire, and camels. The self important villain, rotten to the core, makes the hero miserable in both India and England, until the hero brings him down—with a little help from family—in the end. And last but not least, it features two charming children, one a precocius little girl who pushes the hero to do what is right even when he is confused about what that is.


The author dedicates this one to her father, the constant soldier, who understood duty and loyalty as few people do.

Thank you for joining the celebration.  Tell us about your favorite story elements. Caroline will give a kindle copy of The Renegade Wife, Book 1 in the series, to one person who comments.

She is also sponsoring a grand prize in celebration of her release. You can enter it here: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/2017blogtourpackage/   The prequel to this series, A Dangerous Nativity, is always **FREE**. You can get a copy here: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/a-dangerous-nativity-1815/

The Reluctant Wife

Children of Empire, Book 2
Genre: Pre Victorian, Historical Romance  µ Heat rating: 3 of 5 (two brief -mild- sexual encounters)
ISBN:  978-1-61935-349-9 µ ASIN:  B06Y4BGMX1 µ Page count: 275 pages
Pub date: April 26, 2017

Children of Empire

Three cousins, torn apart by lies and deceit and driven to the far reaches of the empire, struggle to find their way home.

Book 2

When all else fails, love succeeds…

Captain Fred Wheatly’s comfortable life on the fringes of Bengal comes crashing down around him when his mistress dies, leaving him with two children he never expected to have to raise. When he chooses justice over army regulations, he’s forced to resign his position, leaving him with no way to support his unexpected family. He’s already had enough failures in his life. The last thing he needs is an attractive, interfering woman bedeviling his steps, reminding him of his duties.

All widowed Clare Armbruster needs is her brother’s signature on a legal document to be free of her past. After a failed marriage, and still mourning the loss of a child, she’s had it up to her ears with the assumptions she doesn't know how to take care of herself, that what she needs is a husband. She certainly doesn't need a great lout of a captain who can't figure out what to do with his daughters. If only the frightened little girls didn’t need her help so badly.

Clare has made mistakes in the past. Can she trust Fred now? Can she trust herself? Captain Wheatly isn’t ashamed of his aristocratic heritage, but he doesn’t need his family and they’ve certainly never needed him. But with no more military career and two half-caste daughters to support, Fred must turn once more—as a failure—to the family he let down so often in the past. Can two hearts rise above past failures to forge a future together?

Find it here.

About Caroline Warfield
Traveler, poet, librarian, technology manager—Caroline Warfield has been many things (even a nun), but above all she is a romantic. Having retired to the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania, she reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows while she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.
Caroline is a RONE award winner with five star reviews from Readers' Favorite, Night Owl Reviews, and InD'Tale and an Amazon best-seller. She is also a member of the writers’ co-operative, the Bluestocking Belles. With partners she manages and regularly writes for both The Teatime Tattler and History Imagined.
Twitter @CaroWarfield

Excerpt

The ballroom at Government House, Calcutta, 1835

Clare had stopped listening. A prickle of awareness drew her gaze to the entrance where another man entered. He stood well above average height, he radiated coiled strength, and her eyes found his auburn hair unerringly. Captain Wheatly had come. The rapid acceleration of her heart took her off guard. Why should I care that he’s here?

“Clare? The lieutenant asked you a question.”

Lieutenant? Clare blinked to clear her head, only to see Mrs. Davis’s icy glare turned on Captain Wheatly. “Is that your strange captain from the black neighborhood?” she demanded in a faux whisper.

The lieutenant’s avid curiosity added to Clare’s discomfort. “Is that Wheatly in a captain’s uniform? I thought they might demote him after the business with Cornell,” he volunteered.

Clare forced herself to turn to the lieutenant. “Cornell?” she asked to deflect Mrs. Davis’s questions.

“Collector at Dehrapur. Wheatly assaulted the man. Unprovoked, I heard,” the lieutenant answered.

She looked back, unable to stop herself. Merciful angels, he’s seen me. She watched the captain start toward them. At least Gleason could make introductions.

The lieutenant went on as though he had her full attention. “He was in line for promotion, the one that went to your brother instead. Philip posted over there right after it happened.”

Clare found it impossible to look away. The captain gave an ironic smile when he saw her watching. 
Mrs. Davis gave a sharp intake of breath when she realized Wheatly’s intent. “He’s coming here? Clare, I think I should warn you that a man who has been passed over as this one was—”

Before she could finish, Colonel Davis, who had been coming from the other direction, met the captain and greeted him with a smile. Clare couldn’t hear the words, but Captain Wheatly’s self-deprecating grin seemed to indicate at least a modicum of respect. The two men approached together.

“Captain Frederick Wheatly, may I present my wife, Mrs. Davis.” The captain bowed properly, and the colonel went on, “And our house guest, Miss Armbruster.”

This time the captain’s eyes held a distinct twinkle. “Miss Armbruster and I are acquainted. I met her when she visited her brother in Dehrapur.”

“Of course, of course! I should have remembered,” the colonel said jovially. He leaned toward Clare and winked. “He’s a catch, this one. Doesn’t like to boast of his connections, but earls and dukes lurk in his pedigree. His cousin stepped down from Under-Secretary for War and the Colonies just last year!”

Captain Wheatly looked discomfited by that revelation.

Gleason looked skeptical. “The Duke of Murnane?” he gasped.

Before anyone could answer, the small orchestra hired for the occasion began to play, and the captain cocked an eyebrow as if to ask a question.

“I think the captain wants a dance, Miss Armbruster. It’s your patriotic duty to see to the morale of the troops,” the colonel said coyly.

Captain Wheatly put out a gloved hand, and she put her equally gloved hand in his. Walking away from Gleason and the Davises, she admitted two things to herself. She was glad he came, and she planned to enjoy the dance. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

How I come up with my ideas: Guest Post with Jude Knight, author of Farewell to Kindness

How I come up with my ideas

"How do you come up with your ideas?" people sometimes ask. It's a question I have trouble answering. Ideas sleet all around me, all the time, and I run around with my hat held out in both hands trying to catch the ones that shine the brightest.
Often, I'm not sure what to do with them when I've got them, so I squirrel them away until three, or five, or ten of them collide together in the recesses of my mind and emerge into a story. Then, when I start writing, I dig into the store whenever I hit a speed bump. If nothing there helps me around the block, I've learned to trust I'll get the answer from something in my research or some serendipitous piece of information that passes my way.
Let me illustrate.

First, imagine

Seven of the forty or so historical fiction plots I'd worked out in my head before I began writing the actual books belong to The Golden Redepenning series. The one that's now on prerelease, A Raging Madness, is book two in the series but actually came first in my imagination.
As usual, I started with a character type, in this case a beleaguered widow, escaping from her in-laws by climbing out the window, and having to leave behind her beloved colt, the only thing in the world that she owned.
Which, of course, raised all kinds of questions. What was she escaping, and why? Where was she running to? Who was her husband, and how did he come to leave her dependent on her in-laws? What sort of person was she?
And what of her hero? I knew he was one of a group of cousins (the Redepennings), and fairly early on I made him a military man, largely because her husband had been military, and so she had a prejudice against soldiers for my hero to overcome when wooing her.
That must have been all of four years ago. As always, I told myself the bare bones of the story as I walked from the railway station to the office or soaped myself in the shower.

Then record

Then I wrote it into my notebook and moved on to another one. Here's what I wrote.
Alex comes to the funeral of Lady Melville's mother-in-law, as the widowed Lady Melville was wife of a friend and fellow officer. Realises that she needs help. Tries to visit her but is turned away. Ella hears her brother-in-law and his wife talking and realises that they mean harm. Runs to inn where Alex is staying. Alex agrees to take her with him. Takes her to his sister Susan, where he and she investigate to find out why in-laws are so determined to keep her. Attempt on her life; find out that brother-in-law has kept secret her inheritance. (Thought her only inheritance was her horse).

Next, research

Once I had all seven stories, I sorted them by date, so Farewell to Kindness came first, since it starts some eight months before A Raging Madness. I needed a confidante for my Farewell hero, Rede, and had planned to make it a school friend. But Alex's book came next, so Alex got shoe-horned into the Farewell spot. I needed him wounded for the plot, but how and where? He was a soldier, but what battles might he have been involved in to have him in London and still very much an invalid in late April of 1807? I found battles galore, but only one close enough for him to get back to England in time. And the English were not combatants.
The decision to put Alex there anyway, as escort to an unnamed VIP, was one of those fortunate chances I spoke of earlier. In A Raging Madness, a grateful King gives Alex first a cash reward and then a title and an estate, all of which have consequences for his relationship with Ella.

Explore the characters and explore them some more

Of course, the plot capsule above was just the bare-bones start of the story. I knew a little more, but mostly I knew the characters.
Alex was still an invalid, which fired off a couple of plot threads.

Keep researching and researching

I needed to find out the medical treatment for shrapnel wounds, and likely complications. I thought it would be good if Ella treated him, which meant I needed her to have medical training. I made her father a doctor with the regiment in which both Alex and Ella's husband served. But my research showed that the treatment for shrapnel is to leave it alone until it causes problems. Aha! What sort of problems?
Alex and Ella are running away, but the roads in 1807 were diabolical. How could an invalid escape over them? I love the idea of canal boats, and would adore to travel on them. How about if Alex and Ella escaped on a canal boat? No one would think to look for them there, and it would give Alex a chance to have abcessing shrapnel removed, and to recover.
And I'd somewhere come up with the idea that Ella was being drugged by her in-laws. What drug? Laudanum was the obvious answer, and I was lucky enough to find a personal account by a Victorian laudanum addict. How would this affect her escape, and what might Alex think when she arrived in his hotel room?

Then write

So that's where I started. With the bare bones plot ideas, several characters I was beginning to know quite well, and some ideas about directions. I began writing, researching as I went, and found out what happened as it poured out on to the pages.
So I started writing, researching as I went, and found out what happened as it poured out on to the pages.

And that's how I come up with my ideas.

Genre: Regency romance, historical romance, historical suspense,
Regency noir, gothic   
µ Heat rating: PG-13    µ  ISBN: 9780473393670
Page count: 382 pages on Kindle    µ Publication date: 9 May 2017

Tagline

Their marriage is a fiction. Their enemies are all too real.

Blurb

Ella survived an abusive and philandering husband, in-laws who hate her, and public scorn. But she’s not sure she will survive love. It is too late to guard her heart from the man forced to pretend he has married such a disreputable widow, but at least she will not burden him with feelings he can never return.
Alex understands his supposed wife never wishes to remarry. And if she had chosen to wed, it would not have been to him. He should have wooed her when he was whole, when he could have had her love, not her pity. But it is too late now. She looks at him and sees a broken man. Perhaps she will learn to bear him. 
In their masquerade of a marriage, Ella and Alex soon discover they are more well-matched than they expected. But then the couple’s blossoming trust is ripped apart by a malicious enemy. Two lost souls must together face the demons of their past to save their lives and give their love a future.              
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Author bio

Jude Knight’s writing goal is to transport readers to another time, another place, where they can enjoy adventure and romance, thrill to trials and challenges, uncover secrets and solve mysteries, delight in a happy ending, and return from their virtual holiday refreshed and ready for anything.
She writes historical novels, novellas, and short stories, mostly set in the early 19th Century. She writes strong determined heroines, heroes who can appreciate a clever capable woman, villains you’ll love to loathe, and all with a leavening of humour.